tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN January 10, 2011 3:00am-4:00am EST
would stay at the orphanage. i took my 9-year-old daughter and she stayed at the house to see how haitian children live day in and day out. she saw them deal with the incredible challenges. aftermath of this incredible disaster. i'm soledad o'brien reporting. > a life hangs in the balance. >> congresswoman giffords is able to communicate with us. >> a suspect in an attempted assassination faces justice. >> he'll be charged with the assault on the congresswoman, with the killing of judge roll. >> a shaken country looks inward. >> such acts of violence have no place in our society. some begin to question what all of us hear. >> the rhetoric about hatred,
about mistrust of government, about paranoia of how government operates. >> this is a cnn special report "congresswoman shot: tragedy in tucson." >> in tucson, arizona, a spray of bullets in a grocery store parking lot ended six lives, tore apart 14 others and sent shockwaves across the u.s. political system. tonight, arizona congresswoman gabrielle giffords remains in critical condition and we have disturbing new details about the man now charged with trying to assassinate her. with us from the scene in tucson, arizona, our national political correspondent jessica yellin. >> i'm outside the hospital where congresswoman gabrielle giffords is fighting for her life. her family, in some sense, is one of the luckier ones in this story.
there are other families tonight in tucson who are mourning the loss of their loved ones. throughout this city, many people are feeling attacked and victims themselves as this is a small community where just about every group of people you encounter, somebody in there knows or has a connection to one of the victims. we will talk about them and we will talk about this investigation. first we are joined by randi kaye who has been following the developments and you have an update on congresswoman giffords' condition. >> we do. she is still sedated in the hospital here behind us. they are keeping her sedated so they can let her heal a bit while every once in a while they bring her out to check her brain function. she's one of ten victims at the hospital. three others are in serious condition. six are in fair condition. but still they are very encouraged by the fact that she's responding to simple commands. one doctor said she squeezed his hand which is remarkable. they are still very concerned about possible swelling in her brain. they removed a bit of her skull during one of the surgeries so they could relieve the pressure in case the brain did swell. she has high brain function and does seem to be responding. the bullet didn't hit any
critical areas of the brain. >> remarkable, but she's clearly not out of the woods yet. now, authorities released the 911 tape, at least one of them. it's chilling stuff. >> very disturbing to listen to. you hear some of the eyewitnesses, victims, screaming in the background. over the last couple of days including today, some of the eyewitnesses told us the accused shooter came for war. the only reason he stopped shooting is he ran out of bullets. he did get another magazine loaded with 31 bullets, according to the sheriff, into the gun, but it jammed and he wasn't able to fire. we do have the tape. just listen. what's so disturbing about that is you can picture the scene of the 911 call being made.
what's so disturbing about that is you can picture the scene of the 911 call being made. most of the victims were stuck behind a table that was set up for the event. they were sitting ducks as the suspect allegedly continued to fire. >> they were trapped. i know there is a memorial service, a vigil here and a vigil by the congresswoman's office. what are people saying? >> it's interesting to walk among them. listening to them whisper to each other. a lot of them brought their young children. i was there while young children were kneeling down, lighting candles. there are signs for the federal judge who was killed. pictures of the congresswoman, notes and cards that say, "fight, gabby, fight." you can see the connection to her. you think about her in the intensive care unit here. if she could see what is behind us and the outpouring of support
and love for her, you can imagine how quickly she might be able to heal. just walking among the people you can feel the love. it's really something. >> that's a nice point. thank you, randi. john, when i have interviewed people here, i have been talking to republicans as well as democrats. everybody who's met gabrielle giffords says they consider her a friend. republicans say, she didn't share my beliefs but, god, she's a lovely woman. i think she is going to come through this because we are pulling for her. >> we can hope and pray that. thank you very much. disturbing details in this document, the formal complaint against jared lee loughner. jeanne meserve has been poring over the document and working her sources. the document outlines >> a targeted assessment against the congresswoman according to the government's probable cause statement. they say they went into the safe with a search warrant in the residence and found an envelope with handwriting which said "i planned ahead, my
assassination," the name giffords and the signature which appears to be jared loughner's signature. there was a letter from congresswoman giffords to him written in 2007 inviting him to one of the congress on the corner events. that was one of the events that took place yesterday. >> i assume a letter will be part of their piecing together motive. tonight, we are still murky. >> they are not hazarding a guess as to the motive. this is still really in the early stages in the investigation. they are looking at these documents, of course. they are interviewing family, friends, looking at the cell phone, looking at the computer. they are doing everything they possibly can to try and construct a picture of this man and his activities, not just yesterday but for some time in the past. >> five counts. a court appearance tomorrow. what do we know about representation?
>> judy clark has been named to represent him. she's a public defender with a high profile. she's a roving public defender and played a part in a number of high profile cases including the unabomber case. you remember ted kazinsky and also the mussoui case. a conspirator in the 9/11 attacks. someone in high-profile cases with high stakes. this is another one of those cases. >> thank you so much. you have been working hard all weekend. now back to tucson. jessica, cnn has new details tonight on the shooter. >> we still don't know the motivation, but drew griffin spoke to somebody who knew the suspect and had insight. it was a teacher who said he was having a breakdown. >> actually the teacher describes a classroom full of students who were scared literally of their lives from one student, jared loughner, who was taking an elementary algebra
class this past summer at pima county community college. what the mast instructor says is he literally watched jared loughner just falling apart, becoming more and more mentally disturbed. it began on day one of the class, jessica. june 1, 8:00 a.m. jared loughner came into class and began disrupting the rest of the students. >> not every class, just the first day of class. and then the rest of the days he was very quiet and just kind of isolated and in his own little world. didn't want to talk to anybody. >> at one point did you try to get him removed from the class? >> i did. i tried two times at least. i think on the third attempt he had said something about the constitution like violating his first amendment rights and i think that was the straw that broke the camel's back that caused him to be kicked out of the class. >> was he just being disruptive
to your teaching and the students or did you feel in any way that this guy was becoming a threat? >> he was a threat. he actually wrote something on the quiz that said "mayhem fest" and wrote it in big, bold capital letters. >> mayhem? >> mayhem fest. and then put three exclamation points, drew random scribblings, like pictures. >> violent pictures? >> not really. just random stuff. but the mayhem fest got me concerned. >> concerned enough to get the school to actually kick loughner out of the class. he had to be physically removed by a campus police officer and dean. that led to a meeting in which loughner was excluded from the campus until and unless he got psychiatric evaluation. the teachers and students were scared of the guy. ben mcgahee said when the name jared loughner came up yesterday, not surprised at all.
>> that's chilling. was there any indication that the teacher sought any mental health treatment. >> he didn't know of any. obviously he's a math instructor. he knows that jared loughner was told you couldn't get back to campus unit will you got mental help, and he obviously did not return to class. >> just so upsetting because there were signs, perhaps something could have been done. >> i asked him, what more could the school have done? he wished the school had intervened earlier to get him out of class. there was no violence in the school. just odd behavior, threatening to the other students but not overtly. >> right. >> so it's one of those situations. what are you going to do? we'll find out more details perhaps from the school about what they did and whether a psychiatric evaluation did take place. pretty upsetting to know that
nobody in this class was shocked at what happened yesterday. >> thank you, drew. john, those are the disturbing new details from here. clearly signs that he was a disturbed man. but maybe no one found out quite soon enough. john? >> so troubling when you hear that fascinating reporting from drew. these concerns raised back in class in june playing out over months. jeanne meserve said the gun was purchased in november. you can only wish somebody had connected the dots to keep the suspect from buying that weapon. we'll be back to you in a minute. when we come back, a congresswoman is shot and all 535 members of the house and senate are asking this question -- are we safe? gecko: are you ready for your talk, sir? boss: just going over how geico helps people save in even more ways... ...with good driver discounts, multi-car discounts,
defensivdriver discounts... boss: just going over how geico helps people save in even more ways... woman: you! oh, don't act like you don't recognize me! toledo, '03? gecko: no, it's...i... woman: it's o late stanley. gecko: actually, miss, my name's not stanley. woman: oh...oh, i am so sorry! from behind you look just like him. i'm just.... gecko: well...i'd hate to be stanley. geico. 15 minutes could save you 15 percent.
first amendment. congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances. >> before we continue, breaking news. our homeland security correspondent jeanne meserve has
confirmed the parents of the suspect, jared lee loughner, have been interviewed by authorities. the suspect, jared lee loughner is due in federal court in phoenix tomorrow. jeanne is now reporting part of the investigation which included a search warrant at his home where he lives with his parents. the parents have now been interviewed as part of the investigation. the picture you were seeing was congresswoman gabrielle giffords reading the constitution. they read the constitution on the floor. gabrielle giffords read the first amendment, the freedom of speech, freedom of assembly. the shooting rampage changed the political agenda in washington. a contentious house vote on repealing health care reform is off the table. top priorities now, concern for gabrielle giffords and the other victims and concern about lawmaker safety. our senior congressional correspondent dana bash joins us now. let's focus on security first and then the agenda. obviously, they asked questions, were there threats against this let's focus on security first and then the agenda. obviously, they asked questions, were there threats against this congresswoman? should she have had more
security around her anyway? where does this head? >> this heads to every member of congress. we're already there. they are asking the same questions about themselves. obviously first and foremost, everybody is concerned about her welfare. she is so well liked it's actually remarkable. you sort of knew that beforehand but talking to republicans and democrats, that is their first concern. what was interesting is today, john, there was a conference call. 800 people were on this call because it was members of the house, democrats and republicans, not just them but their families, spouses. that really is telling about where the security officials in congress and where members of congress see they need to focus. they saw what happened in tucson. it wasn't just gabrielle giffords. if she was the target, she wasn't the only victim because of what happened.
they are looking at ways to potentially change things. there is a larger meeting when people get back to washington on wednesday. again, a bipartisan meeting. all members who are going to have discussions about whether or not they can really change things. it's going to be hard to do. >> stay with us. let's bring in one of gabrielle giffords' best friends in congress. representative adam smith is a democrat from the state of washington. thanks for spending time with us. i want to talk about your friend, who she is, what politics she represented. first i want to follow up on the security issue. i hate to ask the question, but as you know, sometimes when you have a tragedy like this, especially one that attracts so much public attention the authorities get worried about a copycat. someone wanting to say, ah-ha, this is a way to get attention. have you received information or sufficient information from the capitol police and others essentially helping you protect yourself? >> no, we haven't. all members are thinking about this. we have been thinking about this for a long time actually. we do public meetings on very controversial and passionate issues. i think every member of congress from both parties has had very angry people in their face at meetings. you wonder what you need to do
to keep yourself safe. but we are public officials. we have to be accessible, open to the public and we are going to continue to do that. so, certainly, you know, we all think about it, but we have to do our jobs. >> congressman smith, it's dana bash. we spoke earlier by phone. you were talking about that you're a member of congress but a parent, too. how you have had to have discussions with your kids about this. talk to us about that. >> well, you know, my children obviously understand the job i do. they know gabby. they have met her and talked to her. obviously understand the job i do. they know gabby. they have met her and talked to her. as i mentioned she's a good friend of mine. just a great, great person who, as you said, had a lot of good friends. that's the kind of outgoing and open person that she is. so, you know, yes, my children were wondering about this and, you know, what risk i am at. but in all of our lives we have risks.
you have risk driving down the freeway and you have risk in your jobs in different ways. if you're going to do your job you have to meet the risk. the example i think of obviously with gabby, she served on the armed services committee. that's how i got to know her. mostly traveling around the world visiting troops in afghanistan and iraq. they have a job to do. they face risk and they do their job every day even knowing the risks. i think we have to continue to do that as members of congress and not let, you know, one incident cow us from doing what is an important job. >> tell us about your friend, congresswoman giffords. i met her back in 2006 when she was first campaigning. i went to her district because it was a district democrats were targeting saying, well, we can pick up this district because of the political dissatisfaction of the time. a border district, immigration a big issue there. tell us who she is as a person. >> she's an incredibly outgoing person. she loves people and she is so open to everybody. you cannot be in a bad mood around gabby, no matter what's going on. certainly the last two years haven't been easy for her. she's always so bubbly, so positive and so outgoing and so inclusive of people. we'd go on trips and i was looking through pictures we have
had from a half dozen overseas trips and seeing her with iraqi children, with soldiers, with people -- elected officials from other governments, with our state department people. she reached out and connected with just about everybody she met in a way that is very rare and very special. that's what made her a great representative. it's hard to imagine someone caring more about the people she represents. >> congressman she has eclectic interests. she's a conservative, for gun rights, co-chair of the motorcycle caucus in congress. i have to read this quote. this is my personal favorite. if you want something done, your best bet is to ask a jewish woman to do it. have you heard her say that? >> yes. you're right. she has eclectic interests. one of the things i think of, on one of our trips we met and became friends with a navy seal team in afghanistan. they do dive training down in a base in her district.
so gabby has gone on a tandem jump out of an airplane just because she could and wanted to. i visited her district a couple of times and she's always telling me that i ought to do it. i'm not jumping out of an airplane unless i have to. gabby's great. it was a way to connect with people and she's fearless in everything she does. >> does she ever talk about security concerns with you and did she ever talk about arizona as one of the most volatile if not the most volatile state in our country right now when it comes to open and often emotional political debate? >> yeah. i traveled to her district and campaigned for her in the last election cycle. she is, you know, my closest friend in congress. a lot of people feel that way as well. i tracked her race closely. if you looked and saw what was on the web sites that were dedicated to attacking her. the daily blog posts, things on
her own facebook site. she'd show me some of that on the house floor as well. there is no question the level of hatred and vitriol going on down there had to make her think, but again, she did her job. the risks are out there but she's dedicated to what she does. there is no question that there were threats coming in. it was a very hostile environment during this last election. >> did she ever talk specifically about it? you mentioned the facebook posts. did she ever say, adam, i'm worried or, adam, how can we turn this volume down? >> she did. it wasn't so much about turning the volume down. the thing i remember is it hurt her personally. she's like, i work so hard for these people. i do so much. to see this level of hatred coming back just because she's doing her job and also gabby who's like the nicest, most pleasant person you would ever come across. even when arguing, even when out there dealing with controversial issues, you would never see her
angry or snap at anybody. i think it just took her aback that people, particularly people in her own district could be so vile and so filled with hatred for her. as i said, it didn't stop her for one second. she wouldn't have won this election which was a very, very difficult election for her if she was not absolutely relentless and persistent. >> congressman adams, appreciate your time, thoughts and memories. thank you very much. >> thank you. for everybody else down there, thank you for thinking about her. keep praying for her. she's going to pull through, but we have to keep her in our thoughts. >> amen to that. thank you very much, sir. with each passing hour, more details are coming to light. up next we'll talk with congresswoman giffords' intern. one week on the job and he is a hero. looking for a simple way to help lower your cholesterol? try benecol spread - a heart healthy alternative to butter. benecol contains an ingredient that helps block cholesterol absorption and has a delicious, buttery taste.
make benecol part of your healthy lifestyle. given this tragedy, all logical precautions are in place to best ensure the safety of other public officials. >> in times of tragedy you think first about the victims. six people killed in this case including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl. you think about the 14 wounded. you also think about and celebrate the heroes.
with us now, one of the heroes who helped gabrielle giffords after she was hurt. daniel hernandez is one of the congresswoman's interns who had been on the job less than a week. he's with jessica yellin in tucson. >> daniel hernandez, before becoming an intern was trained as a phlebotomist and a certified nursing assistant. it's a good thing. you were there during this unspeakable horror, but you snapped into action. tell us what happened when the gunshots rang out? >> when i heard the gunshots and i heard someone yell out "gun" i was 30 to 40 feet away. i was in the back of the line trying to sign people in, make sure everyone had the opportunity to speak with the congresswoman. i couldn't see directly what was going on, so i had to run over to where the congresswoman and her staff were. >> and you saw her -- bleeding? >> when i approached the congresswoman and her immediate staff, i noticed that there were a few people who were down. the first thing i did was try to
check for vitals on those who i got to first. but after the second or third person i saw that the congresswoman had been hit and she became my first priority after i saw the severity of her wounds. >> you staunched the bleeding in her brain. tell us what you did. >> after i saw that the congresswoman was hit in the head i noticed that it was a pretty severe wound. so the first thing i did was try and pick her up so that it would be easier for her to breathe. in the position she was in originally, she was possibly in danger of asphyxiating by breathing in her own blood that was coming from the wound. so getting her out of that position, having her sit upright. also, using my hand to kind of put some pressure to make sure that we could stop the blood flow as much as possible. >> what are your thoughts now? what was your experience during that time? is it a blur for you? >> a lot of the things that were going on around me were a blur. however, because my main focus was congresswoman giffords at that point, those are -- the details, the time i spent with her trying to make sure she was okay.
>> it's a remarkable thing you did. it must have been instinct and training kicking in at the same time. as she was taken into the ambulance, i understand you just stood there with her, stayed there with her. >> yeah. so after the emts came in and they were the medical experts and i let them go ahead and take over all of that, i decided my job was to care for her emotional well-being. staying with her, trying to keep her calm as much as possible because she was in a lot of pain. even if that wasn't the case, trying to make sure she knew someone was there with her and letting her know someone was contacting her family so they could be here when she arrived. >> you have done remarkable things for the congresswoman, for these other people. how are you now? >> i'm fine. my main concern is trying to make sure everyone is okay. there are a lot of people wounded. a lot of people who lost friends, family members. we need to be sure they are in our thoughts and our prayers. >> there are many victims in this tragedy. daniel hernandez, thank you so much for what you've done there and for what you speak to in all
of us -- the ability to rise to greatness in the moment. we all appreciate it. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. john, i asked him earlier if he had a chance to see the congresswoman since she was admitted to the hospital. he said he has not yet but he has been in touch with her family. he was quite modest. i have a feeling they said their profound thanks to him. >> i heard mr. hernandez say he did not consider himself a hero. i applaud his humility, but, sir, you are a hero and we honor you for your service, and your quick reaction. we wish you the best. as we go forward, one of the big questions in the wake of this tragedy is will these shootings bring a serious discussion about perhaps toning down our political rhetoric? an attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. you for your service, and your quick reaction. we wish you the best. as we go forward, one of the big questions in the wake of this tragedy is will these shootings bring a serious discussion about perhaps toning down our political rhetoric?
an attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. such acts of violence have no place in our society. >> everyone recalls the white hot rhetoric, the presidential election and the health care debate. we know how pop culture has been inundated with graphic violence. many people are speculating some of that might have been a factor of sorts in yesterday's bloodshed in tucson. we need to be very, very clear. we don't know if it was. we don't know much about the suspected shooter and his alleged motive but we owe ourselves a bit of soul searching after tragedies. jessica yellin is with us and our senior political analyst, david gergin. i want to dig a little bit deeper today.
you see especially on the internet and the social media people trying to assign blame saying it is because of this political party or because of that political rhetoric. the best thing, i think especially 24 hours later, a little more than that later, is to say, whoa, be careful. >> absolutely. we need to cool the rhetoric. we need to cool the accusations, john. 24 hours later, you know, this man who is charged remains a complete mystery to us. we don't know what he was motivated by. we live in a culture of violence, not just a politics of violence. what we don't know what part of that culture contributed in some way to his derangement or possibly sparked him. until we do, accusing each other of being responsible for going off -- there were a lot of charges coming on the internet yesterday. right after the shooting, before we even knew basically anything about this man from the left saying, well, it obviously traces back to sarah palin, the tea party, glenn beck and all the rest.
then the right countercharged and said, wait a minute. what about all the rhetoric that you all hurled at george w. bush, the violent rhetoric you used against him? what about your malgovernance that sparked a citizen revolt and the charges went back and forth. what have they left us with? we still don't understand what happened. even as we are deeply saddened tonight, we are even more divided than we were before this happened. so if we are going to pull back from the brink on this and we are -- there was a good piece in the new york times today saying this may not be the single product of what's going on in our country. it may be the beginning of a period of violence as we saw in the '60s when there were many assissinations as you and i recall so vividly. this is a time to cool the rhetoric, for everyone to take a second look. i didn't agree with everything the sheriff said yesterday, but i do think when he called for soul searching that was wise advice. >> jess, tell us what the mood is on the ground. to david's point if you look at the criminal point they found "my assassination" written at the suspect's home. they found congresswoman
giffords' name. she's a centrist, she is not a polarizing political person. she's voted with the democratic leadership on things but was among the 19 people that would not vote for nancy pelosi to be the democratic leader. she is a centrist, not a firebrand. >> that's right. she's a second amendment democrat, one of the centrist recruits in the 2006 congress. i will just make a few points, john. you will hear democrats talk about the race she just ran. the race she just won was an exceptionally heated one in i will just make a few points, john. you will hear democrats talk about the race she just ran. the race she just won was an exceptionally heated one in which her republican opponent used language -- for example, there was an ad in the newspaper in which he invited people to a shooting range, using guns to rally to take out gabrielle giffords. it was that kind of language many felt was overheated that
led republicans to say, that's not the republican we want. that's how she was able to win over some independent and republican voters. this is a largely republican district. again, she's a democrat who won. on the other side republicans are angry that the sheriff, in their view, has politicized this at all. they think they're being unfairly scapegoated, and it shouldn't be a political discussion in any way. so the bottom line is, it's fanning political flames because we don't have answers. maybe answers to the motivation will quiet things down a bit. >> i think a very good lesson for everybody is let's not point fingers absent facts and let's try to be more careful about the language we pick. one of the six people who died is a man who was shot while shielding his wife with his own body. we'll talk to his pastor next. gr e
cnn's legal analyst joins us from new york to discuss the charges filed so far and where he sees the investigation heading. jeff, good to see you. five counts against jared loughner. he'll be arraigned in court tomorrow. when you look at the case so far, what does it tell you -- what questions does it raise, i guess, about what next? >> well, certainly there are two major possibilities here. one is a federal case based on the attempted assassination of a congresswoman, the murder of a federal judge who was, it turns out, meeting with the congresswoman and her staff about issues of crowding in the federal courts. so that means he was in the course of his duties. the murder of one of her staff members. all of that puts this case into federal court. the murder also makes it potentially a death penalty case in federal court. there have been no charges yet filed in arizona state court in the other murders, particularly
the murder of the young child would certainly make this defendant eligible for the death penalty in arizona as well. so arizona and the federal government are going to have to sort out who goes fist. >> and do you suspect in the early days with all the talk of mental instability that we are headed to a court process that may try to invoke the insanity defense? >> it certainly seem it is defense here won't be "you got the wrong guy." it doesn't seem that's a plausible defense. what defense is there other than insanity? this has often come up in political cases. perhaps the most famous invocation of the insanity defense ever was by john hinkley who shot president reagan in 1981. that was successful. as a result of the case, congress tightened the insanity defense. insanity defenses are rarely successful. given what we know about the defendant it certainly seems like something the defense is going to want to investigate carefully whether he had the mental state to commit this crime in a conventional way.
>> what does it tell you that the government appointed an attorney and it is an attorney who helped defend high profile terrorist cases. does it tell you they are picking not only a criminal defense attorney but someone who can deal with the media attention that will come with the case? >> judy clark is as good as it gets in american criminal defense law. she's a sensational lawyer and she has expertise not just in high profile cases but case where is the death penalty is on the table. perhaps her most famous case, even more than moussaui was her representation of ted kazinsky. there was a lot of pressure to seek the death penalty and eventually the government settled for a plea of life without parole. looking at this case in these stages looks like it will be a similar challenge in this case to get the death penalty off the
table. when you look at the magnitude of the crime, the number of victims. when you look at the range of victims, a federal judge, a 9-year-old girl, there are going to be a lot of people who want to keep the death penalty on the table. >> jeffrey toobin, thank you. i want to go back to jessica yellin who has breaking news on the gunman. >> john, a little bit of developing, breaking news here. a law enforcement source in arizona has told cnn that the suspect in this case tried to buy ammunition at walmart a few weeks back but was turned down because of his behavior. he was then able to buy that ammunition at another walmart. apparently there were signs in some way that he was disturbed, but he was able to buy that ammunition. turned down at one walmart, able to buy it at another. john, we are gathered here in front of the hospital where gabrielle giffords and others
are fighting for their lives. there is a vigil behind me. i am joined by one of the people who is also mourning tonight, mourning the loss of dory stoddard. pastor mike nowak joins us. was a pastor for both dory and mave stoddard. tell us what happened. >> they were in line to see gabrielle giffords and they heard shots. >> they weren't quite sure where they were coming from. so dory pulled her down, fell on top of her. she was shot in the leg and he was shot in the head. >> he died defending his wife. >> that's correct. >> obviously heroic. instinctive. what was he like as a man? >> he was a big teddy bear, the kind of guy that would help everybody out, open his wallet and give whatever he had to anybody.
it wasn't unusual for him to do something like he did yesterday. he loved a lot of people. he was a benevolent man and cared for a lot of people. he thought of others before himself. >> have you been able to speak to his wife? >> i talked to her about two hours ago. she's doing well. she had her surgery. they worked on her leg. she's doing therapy now because a couple of the muscles were shot. doctors hope she'll be home tomorrow. >> how about her spirits? you are her pastor. >> her spirit is good. i'm surprised. she has a good network of family and church friends. she knows that dory is in a better place and she knows that she'll move on. she has moments of depression, but all in all she's doing a great job. >> how is your congregation doing with this news? >> we left about an hour ago. everybody is doing good. we are supporting one another. we are concerned for each other. we know the kind of man dory was. he wasn't a healthy man. he had a lot of heart issues. we figured he would die someday
because of heart issue. this was probably a best thing for him. >> what message do you give them about how to make sense of the shooting? >> i didn't tell them to make sense of it because we can't. i tried to encourage them not to make this a political issue, a vindictive issue. one of our soldiers has fallen from our ranks. i try to tell people to encourage one another, be uplifted and ready to receive her when she comes out of the hospital. it was a good, uplifting service today. >> thank you so much for joining us and for what you have given them. >> thank you. >> pastor mike nowak, one of the many people here who is helping so many in the community get through this tragedy. a community that has really pulled together. i was around the corner from dory stoddard's house today and a bunch of kids had drawn messages in pastel chalk. he was beloved by the kids of the neighborhood, john.
>> a horrific tragedy, but it does bring out the best in the community. news that gabrielle giffords was shot point blank in the head led to fears that she wouldn't survive. she's said not only to have survived but to be alert and responsive. let's bring in neurosurgeon and cnn correspondent, dr. sanjay gupta, when you hear encouraging reports, what do we know about how she's doing? >> it's very encouraging, especially so given that most doctors really are reluctant to say too much in the immediate aftermath of an operation like this. they said they were very optimistic. yesterday after the operation they continued to say so. what they say is she's heavily sedated. they call it a medical coma. that's the doctor's language. it's the type of medicine you can give and when you stop giving it the patient wakes up pretty quickly after. important because you can examine the patient. as you indicated, john, when she's examined she seems alert, is able to follow commands.
those are important, good signs, especially after the type of brain operation she had. >> how rare is this and as you answer, what are the challenges as you get from day two to day three and four? >> every patient is going to be different. every injury will be different, as you know, john. if you have to look across the board you have to keep in mind that around 2/3 of patients who have a gunshot wound to the head don't survive long enough to make it to the hospital. of the third that do make it to the hospital, 50% of those patients don't survive long-term. so patients do survive these types of injuries although it is admittedly rare. the biggest concern in the days and perhaps weeks that come is swelling of the brain. let me show you if i can, john. what we know is the bullet entered the left side of the brain in the back and exited the front. this entire area has a bullet track through it. any of that area can swell over time. i think that's one of the large concerns. what doctors did, john, is in addition to stopping some of the bleeding and removing some of
the bone fragments where the bullet entered, they also took off some of this bone on the left side of the head. why? because if the brain swells it has nowhere to go because of the rigid skull. remove some of that bone to allow extra room for swelling. the swelling likely will occur given the nature of this injury, but because of that bone, it's called a craniectomy that's performed. she'll have more room and not suffer the catastrophic effects as likely. >> thank you so much. we talk about the victims of the attack, this assault. we know about a federal judge who was killed. we know about a congresswoman. sanjay described to us she's hospitalized. when we come back, we reflect on the youngest victim, a 9-year-old girl.
9-year-old christina green had her life snuffed out in a senseless act of violence yesterday. all she wanted to do was to see grass roots american politics up close. instead, she was caught in the sights of a gunman whose motives are as mysterious as his actions were heinous. cnn's casey wayans spoke with the girl's heartbroken parents. >> does say something about our society that my daughter was born on a tragic day, and she went out on a tragic day. >> she was a great friend, a great sister, a great daughter. i'm so proud of her, and i just want -- i want everyone to know, and i think a lot of people that know us and knew christina taylor, you know, that we got robbed. she got robbed of a beautiful life that she could have had. >> there's going to be a lot of those kind of moments that you know, i had one this morning, just waking up and she -- she comes up and says, daddy, it's time get up.
and she didn't do that this morning. >> as a parent of two, you just know the pain they are going through is the unthinkable. the unthinkable, and it is horrific. let's check back with our jessica yellin for a final thought. >> john, you know, there will be so many questions in the coming days about mental health issues and gun laws, but one of the things, so many unanswered questions. one of the things it reminds us is the fragility of life and also the fragility of democracy. we are the envy of the world for impassioned debates and the access we have to our politicians, and it is an
important reminder of what we do have here in the u.s., something positive out of all of this, john. >> i first met gabby giffords in her first race for congress in 2006 and she's a delightful, thoughtful, vivacious person. we pray for her tonight and we wish her well and on jessica's point. supposed to be a big debate about health care. we know it's a partisan issue, there are legitimate substantive divides on this issue. when they pick that one up a week or three down the road, maybe a lesson can be to criticize each other's ideas. fight the battle of ideas, don't question the other person's integrity. jessica yellin, thanks for sharing the last two hours with me. i'm john king in washington. good night from here, but our coverage continues now with cnn's don lemon. hello, everyone.